At E3 Disney wants to take your money and your soul

SSCN4062It’s pretty well known that Disney has enlisted “Toy Story 3” game developer Avalanche Software to get them in on the collectible toy/game business that Activision launched so successfully with their “Skylanders” series.  Disney is an obvious fit for this business with their huge portfolio of properties and who is better to bring that into fruition than arguably the most successful developer to touch a Disney franchise.  At the E3 Expo which wrapped up on June 13, “Disney Infinity” was a big hit and playable for everyone that could wait in line to give it a try.  What less people saw was ”Guitar Hero” and Rock Band’s” creator,  Harmonix’s new take on “Fantasia.”

Parents prepare to spend a lot of money this holiday season.  If you thought that “Skylanders” was expensive, the new Disney toys will be slightly more expensive than a basic Skylander but, the game also includes tokens that are sold in random packs like baseball cards for the game.  That doesn’t even address that fact that Disney owns an entire army of beloved characters, new and old.  Luckily, at this point they have no plans to micro-transaction you to death once they get their foot in the door.  There is also the appeal of two games in one, with the open-ended Toybox mode providing nearly endless gaming.

The surprisingly good “Toy Story 3” game seems to be providing the model for “Disney Infinity.”  In “Disney Infinity,” like ”Toy Story 3” players have set stories and missions in their particular playset.  Playing these unlock items that go into the Toy Box, which offers limitless options.  You can do the normal things like build sets using classic Disney pieces and character or you can create complex games.  Yes, there are actually programming tools like triggers and states that you can use to build your own games.  The game is multiplayer, so of course you can share your creations with your family, but you can also upload your games to share with the world.

Maybe it’s because this writer is a musician, but the preview for the upcoming “Fantasia” game was arguably the most moving experience of E3.  Constructed almost as sequel to classic Disney film, the game task players with finding the music in the world.  Not just a rhythm game, Fantasia actually allows players to shape and create musical arrangements using the Xbox One’s new high definition Kinect system.  Players are part Maestro, part detective as they explore the beautiful worlds.  The new Kinect worked surprisingly well considering how dark the small theater was that they used to demonstrate the game.  With the wide variety of music planned for the game, any music lover should put “Fantasia” on their wish list, right now.

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